How Do You Get Tall Excel Pastes to Fit Into Your MicroStation Borders?

DGN borders

Works with Word, too!

Have you ever suffered from the myriad shortcomings which plague MicroStation's "Paste Special" command? If you've ever tried to get a tall Excel or Word paste into a short space, you know the kind of problems I'm talking about. In fact, in talking with our customers, we found that one of the tasks that people were taking the longest time on was trying to make tall pastes from Excel or Word fit inside their DGN borders. They were manually splitting up tall data into multiple pastes. Trying to do this is both time-consuming and frustrating. Simply changing text size is seldom an option as the text must be readable in the plot and almost always must follow a CAD standard that dictates the text size. Fortunately for Microsoft Office Importer owners, this (and many other issues with importing Excel or Word data) isn't an issue.

Figure 1. Microsoft Office Importer's new feature allows users to easily fit tall pastes into short spaces in design files by splitting the data into sections. Users can also select which (if any) of the rows in a paste should be used as repeating headers for each of the sections created.

Microsoft Office Importer has a feature called "split paste into columns". This feature is great when you have a tall paste that you want to fit into a short area, such as within a border. To use this feature, all you have to do is put a checkmark next to the "Split paste into columns." option in Microsoft Office Importer's tool settings box. (See Figure 2.)

Now, when you go to put a tall paste into your DGN file, you'll be able to have Microsoft Office Importer automatically split your paste into multiple columns so that it fits into the space you need it to. Don't confuse these columns in the DGN file with Excel's columns — the paste that Microsoft Office Importer is splitting into multiple columns can contain as many Excel columns and rows as you like. This feature splits your Excel paste into columns in the DGN file. In effect, your tall paste (of multiple Excel columns and rows) flows naturally from one column in your DGN file to the next column (from left to right). This works with pastes from Word as well. This feature is great if you're trying, for instance, to place a tall paste inside a sheet border.

Figure 2. With the "split paste into columns" feature, getting tall pastes to fit into short spaces is simple to do.

The result (as shown in Figure 3) is that your paste starts where you choose and then continues to the right (as you drag the cursor down and to the right) and automatically creates one or more "columns". You don't have to violate your CAD standard by shrinking your text to illegally small (and possibly hard to read) sizes to get it to fit inside your short space (such as a border) and you don't have to make several different pastes to get the desired result.

What If You Have Header Rows in Your Excel Paste?

Figure 3. Microsoft Office Importer lets you easily fit a large paste perfectly inside your border.

Often, Excel data such as summaries, schedules, bills of materials and the like have header rows at the top. Without Microsoft Office Importer, you would have to paste the header rows separately into your DGN file for each column except the first column. This is inefficient, not to mention annoying. Microsoft Office Importer makes this automatic as well. Simply check the "Repeat XLS header of 'n' rows in each column." checkbox and enter the number of rows of column headers you have. (See Figure 4.) Microsoft Office Importer will automatically duplicate your Excel spreadsheet's headers (the first "n" rows of your paste) at the top of each of the columns it automatically creates in your DGN file. It's automatic and, to quote a few Microsoft Office Importer users, "Awesome."

Figure 4. If you are splitting your Excel paste into columns, Microsoft Office Importer lets you repeat any number of rows of Excel headers at the top of each column in your DGN file!

As a note, the "Split paste into columns" feature works with ProjectWise and doesn't require any special training for pasting from files stored in ProjectWise. Once you've tried it for yourself, it's like riding a bike. You won't forget how to use it, and I'm pretty sure you won't want to go back to MicroStation's "Paste Special" tool ever again.

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For more information on Microsoft Office Importer or to obtain a free trial version, contact an Axiom MicroStation Consultant today! Call 727-442-7774 extension 1508, now!